My third tier of running backs are the “Damned if you do, Damned if you don’t” guys. Running backs who could finish the season as one of the studs of Fantasy Football 2008, or they could finish as mediocre RB3 type players. These are also guys that have pundits playing both sides of the street. If the guys kick butt, all you’ll read about is how EVERYBODY knew they’d do that. If they guys suck, all you’ll read about is how it was OBVIOUS how that would happen. To be honest, I hate these guys for that reason.
In alphabetical order….
Marion Barber, Dal - Marion Barber was a giant fantasy stud for a few weeks, between the time the Cowboys released Julius Jones and the time they drafted Felix Jones. How much will Barber have to share the ball with Felix? If he gets the ball at least 200 times this season, he’ll be a fantasy rock star. The Cowboys just signed him to a seven-year contract with $16 million in guaranteed money too, so they have an incentive to put him to work. Barber could be considered a Tier 2 RB, but I want to see how Felix Jones in camp before I make that move.
Ryan Grant, GB – More on the Mysterious Mister Grant later on.
Frank Gore, SF – It’s surprising, but Frank Gore actually outgained Joseph Addai by 30 rushing yards last season. His five rushing touchdowns was the big disappointment and there’s no reason to think that he’s going to significantly increase that number this year. Mike Martz likes to throw the ball, a lot, all the time. Martz is making noise about how Gore is “the core” of the offense, but he’s also talking about how they're going to work DeShaun Foster and even Michael Robinson into the running game too. I can’t trust my RB1 to a Mike Martz offense, no matter how good they guy might look.
Larry Johnson, KC – LJ was arguably fantasy football’s biggest bust last season. He was injured and when he wasn’t injured he just plain stunk. It’s a new year though and a new chance to change a lot of things from last season. Johnson should be back to full health (good). The Chiefs drafted a big Guard (Branden Albert) with the 15th overall pick in the draft (good). The Chiefs got rid of lousy WRs Samie Parker and Eddie Kennison (good.) The Chiefs replaced those two guys with Jeff Webb and Davard Darling (bad). Three of their five projected OL starters have never started an NFL game (bad). Brodie Croyle is still the QB (bad). Add it all up and it equals bleah.
Willis McGahee, Bal – McGahee gets a post all to himself later on as well.